Friday, September 02, 2005

This false ghost

When sleep has avoided you for the better part of six days, time and space conspire to play naughty tricks on your feeble brain. All night I keep trying to prove to myself that I'm not dead. Looking for signs that I survived the storm and I'm not lodged in some dank corner of hell.

On my parents floor, sweating constantly and rolling in slow angry circles, I think I am in a coffin. I don't believe the night is real. I don't think I should be so hot. So tired. So uncomfortable. The fan spews nothing but hot air. I feel my pulse throbbing in my neck. I can't breathe in this coffin. The air is dying, too. There isn't enough oxygen and it weighs on my chest like a drowned corpse. The room is stifling. It thrums with the constant moan of a gas-powered generator. The dry whispers of the lazy fan. I'm either dead or dying and they've already buried me. I can't find a way out, until I sit up and squint at my hands, wipe off my face and try to re-arrange my pillows for the thousandth time. Alive or dead, I suffer and repented and try to crawl out of the coffin all night.

Every two hours I snap out of the waking nightmare, roused by the abrupt silence of the house, and limp outside to fill the engine. Sometimes I hear my father snoring in the other room. Unshaken by the heat and anger. I'm jealous of his slumber. Angered that I can't find the same genuine bliss.

So I curl up under a sweat-soaked bed sheet and lapse back into the delirium. Drift back into the howling coffin of insomnia. My eyes are closed but I can feel the room pressing down on me. The hard floor lurching against my spine. The carpet wet with perspiration. I welcome the dawn and the new burden of recovery. At least it will be real. Unlike this false ghost of sleep that taunts me with each heartbeat.

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